Effexor XR Memory Loss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making the Connection

Memory Loss:Making the Connection

More than ten years on Effexor XR. A gradual yet shocking decrease in my memory: word retrieval, short term memory, sense of ‘fuzziness’ about events in recent past. Additionally, an acute sense of congitive degeneration. In my case, I found involvement in physical training program involving balance, dexterity, agility and coordination, coupled with Iyengar Yoga and meditation successfully alleviated a great deal of this fugue .. at first.

 

My hope initially was that since I had never been someone who exercised, this focus on the physical might result in the creation of a parallel neural nework which could function in lieu of my damaged prefrontal cortex. Actually replace the defective (as I saw it) right brain dominance.

Noticed after a few months that I was returning from exercise and from cranial sacral work totally exhausted. (The cranial sacral therapist would say “Ok, now I’ve got all your neurotransmittors stablilized). My theory was that the medication (300 Effexor XR and Wellbutrin 50 was interfering with the process of creating natural endorphins, possibly even establishing the very beginnings of new neural networks. I started cutting back on the meds; totally off the Wellbutrin and got down to 37.5 of Effexor XR until an injury necessitated me stopping my exercise program for a few months. Not shortly thereafter, the depression returned en force. Currently, I am back on 150 Effexor (after a 9 day stint on Pristiq which resulted in major Effexor Withdrawal Syndrome. Currently, Im in the process of reaclimating to Effexor: heartburn, shortness of breath, free floating anxiety, even some of those horrid suicidal ideations. All helped today by 2 mg of Ativan. A few Coca Colas for energy and sugar.

 

After years of talking with my psychiatrist about my memory loss, problems with word retrieval, feeling as if I was in a fog, inability to sustain a job (or a relationship) increased isolating, I was almost convinced this deterioration was an effect of the aging brain. Until I came across this discussion board last week: About: Effexor and Memory Loss, with over 100 comments from Effexor users complainig of th same thing. Some claim their cognitive functioning improved after discontinuing the medication, but others had seen no return to normal.

A note from Wikipedia: In a study of the tolerability of venlafaxine at a dose range 75 to 600 mg per day for treating DSM-IV major depressive disorder “failing memory” was reported at all doses in 44.4% of cases. The severity of venlafaxine-induced memory loss was also noted to increase with dose and length of treatment.[32] As memory loss may have a significant impact on the patient’s ability to function in his community or place of work, this adverse effect should be an important consideration when prescribing venlafaxine in an out-patient setting and suggests that venlafaxine is most suitable for the treatment of in-patients.

source: ^ Harrison CL, Ferrier N, Young AH (June 2004). “Tolerability of high-dose venlafaxine in depressed patients”. J. Psychopharmacol. (Oxford) 18 (2): 200–4. doi:10.1177/0269881104042621. PMID 15260908.

But there are other questions I have for Individuals on ADs.

  • did you start smoking again
  • have you gained weight
  • have you become more isolated, less motivated
  • do you have difficulty holding on to a job
  • do you have difficulty handling routine jobs, keeping up with mail, keeping house clean and orderly, getting car serviced on time
  • have you lost contact with family and friends since you started on the drug
  • has the quality of your life improved
  • what have been your experiences in attempting to come off Effexor XR?

Uses, Side Effects of Effexor XR

Wyeth continues to downplay the presence of brain zaps in the discontinuation syndrome.

Along with the online discussion forums, check out Youtbube for personal video stories.

A Youtube of withdrawing from Effexor. 7 days on 37.5; take every 2nd day. Make it whole next day the day after that is when he would feel the withdrawal.

A youtube about depression

About.com

Memory loss linked to antidepressents, especially Effexor XR

Long term use of antidepressents


147 Responses to “Effexor XR Memory Loss”

  1. It’s funny, I read the title “Effexor XR and Memory Loss,” and instantly I went, “wow, maybe that’s my problem.” I’ve been on the medication for nearly 7 years and often people laugh at me saying “oh you’ve got the worst memory EVER!” but I never thought that it could be a side effect of the medication. For instance, I’ll see a movie and a week later not even remember if I had seen it, or what the plot was. I forget entire days, experiences, communications, and usually just own it up to “life is busy, I don’t have time to remember the little things.” This is definitely an interesting proposal.

    • I have experienced the EXACT same thing. I just turned 40 and figured it had something to do with age. Very recently I have experienced not remembering specific things that I have been involved in or seen, as Kate P mentioned. I am very busy, so came to the conclusion that I had too much going on. Amazing to see these comments! I have experienced MUCH more in regards to being on this medication, but don’t want to go into too much detail at this point. If anyone wants more detail, I am willing to share. I went off the meds cold turkey this week. I am a little scared, but just pray I will make it through and things will be okay. So far, I feel like I am doing okay, but shake all the time and cry at the drop of a hat. I work full-time, but outside of work I feel like I haven’t stopped crying. Maybe that is a good thing, as I almost feel I haven’t experienced true emotions for years, due to the meds. Don’t get me wrong, antidepressants saved my life when I first started taking them 20 years ago! Yes, 20 years. I started with Prozac and have taken a few different ones over the years. Effexor seems to work the best (I thought), until I started realizing my mental deterioration and other physical problems may be caused by my prolonged use of the drug. Wow! I almost died a year and a half ago, due to a colon issue that I now know is at least partly the result of being on prescription meds constantly. I was literally minutes from losing my life. I have never been a part of a forum before, but look forward to this. Thank you for all who have shared.

    • EXACTLY RIGHT! I’m on 300 mg Effexor XR for about 8 years and my memory is eroding to the point now that I don’t remember the plot of a movie I saw three weeks ago, or I can’t remember what I had for dinner two nights ago. It’s beginning to affect my professional life. The problem is that when I’ve tried to go off in the past I’ve had horrendous body-zaps up and down my legs and finally had to go back on the Effexor for relief. YIKES! Now I’m really committed to weening off…

      • Try to get yourself into treatment with Chinese Medicine and with nutritionists and work with a pharmacologist. These folks are becoming experts in helping people regain their equilibrium and tapering them off pharmaceuticals. They are truly saving my life and restoring me to sanity.

  2. kate,
    there is a whole lot more information on this site about this topic. i just started work on it last week and right now i am working on the navigation problems…. If you get a chance take a look at neuroplasticity and neurogenesis pages because they deal with how we can go about repairing things like memory loss. I have kinda tapped into some ideas as to why this is occuring among so many people. Im researching it.
    One of the things I want to do with this site is have it create community … I am going to create a section called My Story where people can write in about their unique experience, diangoses, medications they are on, have tried, what works what doesn’t etc.

    • Do I just google neurogenesis and neuroplasticity, or is there a specific site I should go to?

    • Did you ever start your online community regarding Effexor XR and memory? I notice that you posted in 2008…8 years ago. I am 47 and have been on 75mg for 6 years and feel like I am loosing memory and retention. I have recently reached out to my Dr. for a different plan and he replied that he has never seen evidence of memory concerns with this med. I have searched several sites regarding the side effects and none of them note memory loss! Only blogs of real people on this medicine note this concern. I hate it and wonder every day what it would be like without this fog! What have you learned?

  3. memory losses is very normal with anti-depressive treatments because they are relieving depression with memory system
    antidepressants boosting neurogenesis to restore the volume of shrinking place in brain this boosting little fooling the brain circuits which is responsible from memory function.
    The point is everybody have a neurogenesis rate but peoples who take antidepressants have very much neurogenesis rate from the normal people i think this much rate is responsible from memory failing but we have to pay this situation for relief may be after the remission these side effect will disappear quietly
    i think some of the brain ares must be restore about %96-98 to brain function normally yeah some of the brain areas must be nearly full restored for depression relief

  4. […] ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: By the way, this lady has a great blog on her bipolar disease and discusses Effexor causing her memory loss and brain zaps https://brainzaps.wordpress.com/effexor-xr-memory-loss/ […]

  5. OMG! I’m so upset. I’ve been taking Effexor XR for the past 4 yrs. and I have become the family joke as far as remembering anything. This has been a very depressing experience forgetting things and not being able to focus. I’ve been scared for my job. This is serious I really thought I was losing my mind.

    So, what is next?
    Who can help?

    • yeah, it IS serious. Right now, I am researching the role of oxytocin and imbalanced circadian rhythms big time … i hope you will read through other parts of this site which deal with new therapies which do not involve psychotropics …. AND whatever you do, DO NOT get off Effexor XR cold turkey. It is one of the most addictive drugs on the market. Withdrawal has to be supervised carefully over time.

    • I had the same problem i felt like i had been loosing my mind and cried for hours thinking that maby my family would be better off if i was in a mental hospital. I asked my dr. if i could possiably have alztimers at the age of 31 and she had a brain scan done and they keep telling me that higher levles of stress can cause foucusing issues. my short term memory loss was so bad it was getting dangerous. For me to do simple things like cook or drive. When i cooked i would hold a spoon to remember and still burn the food b/c i couldn’t remember why i was holding the spoon. Other things i had to do were set muiltiple alarms around the house with notes so i could remember things like picking my kids up from school or to take meds. I also would be driving down the road and forget where i was going. i am not on effexor any more due to the fact i felt it had to have something to do with it and it took a while but i am starting to get my life (memory) back in order but now the stress and panicing is back. I want to start another treatment but now i am afraid and don’t know what to do.

      • i am working every day on listening to music and doing meditations which help with stress and panic. Search under mindful meditation and relaxation meditation for things to download. I am also signed up now to Luminoisity and every morning I sign in and do about 5 – 10 minutes of work on problem solving and improving cognitive skills. costs a little over $5 a month to join. It helps to center me and although my progress is slow it is steady and some days are better than others.

        Don’t go back on that drug. I am begging you. There are other solutions. The findings on the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy are just astounding and offer so much hope for the acttive role we can play in reframing how we react to the world.

      • I have had the same issues re: memory loss since I went on Effexor. It got so bad and frustrating that I stopped the effexor. The anxiety has come back but I don’t care. I rather live all my days in anxiety than have no memory and focus. Unfortunately I have not regained my memory/focus and am wondering how long it took you for your memory to come back. I have been off of Effexor since May, so 6 months now with no improvement. As far as working with your anxiety, I have found meditation, yoga, leading a simpler life, GOOD FOOD (read trudy scott’s food book and how it improves mood), and RIGOROUS EXERCISE work wonders on lowering my anxiety. I agree that it’s not worth going back on the medication. You can find a way to help yourself without relying on these drugs that are affecting our brains negatively.

    • I know how you feel. I have been employed by the same employer for 14 years and this year I have forgotten some pretty basic and simple responsibilities. I have never been in trouble at work or been written up, but came very close this past week. Very, very scary. I went off the meds for the first time in many years this week, but not am struggling with the fact that I have NO patience for anything or anyone. That could get me in trouble too! 😦

  6. I have only been on Effexor for almost two months now. I started off with a very low dosage about 37.5mg, and have been doubling it for a few times now. I am now at 150mg. I noticed even when I got to the 75 mg, that my short term memory was starting to worsen. I am only 21 years old, and I can’t remember very much. I am till in school and I am working, and I find myself forgetting daily things and things that happened in the previous 10 minutes. It is quite frustrating.
    My memory is getting worse, and it scares me because I am still in school and continue to do more school after I graduate. I am not really sure if I should continue this medication or try to find a different one. I know it takes a while to get used to, and I am not up to what will be my full dosage yet, but I don’t know if the memory loss is worth it.

  7. I have gone from 150 to 75 & now I am taking 37.5 Effexor XR. I have been having memory issues for years, also fatigue exhaustion shortness of breath weight gain obsessive eating. I thought some of these symptoms were happening because I have a Neuro Muscular disease (Myasthenia Gravis). Withdrawl from this drug is bad I get dizzy, anxious, irritable, disoriented, I also have those brain clicks or zaps when I move my head from side to side and even when I blink my eyes, usually when I get up in the morning it goes away rather quickly. I hope to be off compleatly in 3 months. Whish me luck

    • did you have the zaps when you went on psychotropic meds? Cause I sure did! And involuntary body movements … like i can remember for almost a year my head would snap, sometimes so severely i would fear wrenching my neck …

      Oh good luck to you. My story your story…. I have been down to 37.5 before .. coupled with ongoing exercise and yoga, meditation. it worked until i injured self and then had to stop exercising.

      Im back to exercise again …. cutting back and hopefully will be at your dose soon. It is so hard .. disorientation… I’ve experienced this thoughout the cutdown. Its scarey. The whole damn thing is. Stay in touch. Are you using any of the boards like crazymeds? really helpful.

    • OMG…what are those brain “zaps”? I started experiencing those a year or so ago when I would forget to take my medication and they really scare me.

  8. I have been on effexor sr, 225mg for over 10 years. Recently, I have been having severe problems with word retrieval and verbalization of ideas. Memory loss is not as severe. I am a professor and am very aware of what is going on. I’ve gone to a memory loss clinic (neuroscience) and they tell me its my aging brain (I’m a very young 62); but the onset is so noticeable I don’t think that aging is the problem. I have been exercising routinely for the past 35 years. Has any one done research on a kind of aphasia associated with long-term use? I am desperate.

    • i don’t know yet of any studies at all on long term effects .. but of course you know that the drug companies wouldn’t fund them and so where would the money come from? I am interested in what kind of exercise you do… I am working with agility and balance training again as well as Ivengar Yoga. I find that this ‘retraining’ or rewiring of the brain helps me a great deal in organizing or relearning and in fluidity…. wondering if you have tried that. Plus is it possible for you to cut down the dose? I am at 150 from225 and hoping to get down to 75 (its an on again off again process)

      I am a professional writer, semi retired reporter who also is very much on my game … but this word retrieval and verbalization? unless I am so immersed in conversation that I lose all sense of self, it plagues me as does my episodic memory…. read Oliver Sachs and Doidge and anything you can find on neuroplasticity. i think our answer is building new pathways in the brain. I have a posting on this idea somewhere which i will send you. Check back in. would love to talk more.

  9. I’ve been taking Venlafaxine for 10 years now, I have tried to reduce below 75mg but I start to get withdrawl effects which are very unpleasant, the electric “Zaps” being the most noticible. I have noticed over the past 2 years my cognitive skills declining, my spelling is becoming worse, I can’t remember how to spell words on occasions.
    I’m sorry for others experiencing the same but take comfort in knowing I’m not alone.

    • I’ve been down to 37.5 w/no brain zaps or side effects until i stopped exercising. Then I went into full blown depression again. I cannot suggest strongly enough Ivengar Yoga, Mindful Meditation and exercise to help with withdrawal and cognition. Also Cognitive Therapy really is helping me so much. The goal being to create new neural pathways epigenesis ….

      Im doing so research now on new medicatins focusing on glia as opposed to the synaptic interventions … I’ll post findings as I find them.

      You are NOT alone. Routing for you!

  10. this is so scary. am a nurse and this memory and cogtnitive decline is really scaring me
    I am starting to exercise more but have such low energy that it is hard

  11. Can somebody help me? I have been thinking I have alzheimers or the beginning of Parkinson’s (of which my Dad died from) but am starting to feel a bit relieved thinking it is the Effexor. My memory loss and cognitive decline is showing up in my performance at work however so now am getting very anxious about loosing my job (and health insurance). I really thought I was going nuts and getting ready to hang it up but just knew deep inside that something is wrong with my thinking. Help, where do I go from here? Of course I am seeing my doctor on Monday but am scared of the withdrawls too as I missed my Effexor for a 36 hr period once and was physically sick, very ill!!! Crap, this just sucks. I just want to figure it out.
    MJ in N Dak

    • first of all, don’t be surprised if your doc doesn’t attribute this to the effexor … they just don’t KNOW about it. The drug companies hide this information. My suggestions are: see about lowering your dosage. Start exercising right away. Focus on mindful meditation, yoga. These help to rekindle the growth of brain cells and you re-learn how to be in the moment and re-connect with fluidity and automaticity. There are supplemnts you can start taking to make up the deficits caused by lowering of both the serotonin and the epeneprine.

      You cannot go off effexor cold turkey. you really have to wean off slowly. I am now down to 150 and ready to make my next drop to 110 …

      You really need to find someone who works with integrative medicine. Cognitive Therapy is really amazing because it deals with re-wiring the brain. My life has turned around since my shift from psychotherapy and psychopharmacology yto cognintive therapy and integrative medicine coupled with exercise. My brain is so much more health.

      Check in Monday. Believe me. This WILL get better. You just need to find the right people to work with you.

      • Bootsie, you must be a night owl. I just want you to know that I really appreciate your help and suggestions. My brothers are doctors and they thought I was nuts when I started talking about brain zaps a couple of years ago, so you are right, they just don’t know. Damn that drug company! I so helps to be able to know I am not going nuts and there are people out here who know exactly how I feel. Thank you!

      • I have responded to many of your posts, some a couple years old. I am trying to Venlafaxine cold turkey. Can you tell me why I shouldn’t do that? I mean, I have always heard you shouldn’t, but kind of feel like I have to for a few different reasons. Any information would be helpful. Thank you.

    • my significant other has been just diagnosed with alzheimers and has just been taken off of effexor after being on it for about 5 years. they have replaced it with zoloft and his depression seems much improved, but his memory, cognition, and trying to think of the right word or words kind of comes and goes. have to wonder if this could be the result of the past use of this drug or if it is truly alzheimers. has had many hours of testing which he did very poorly on and alzheimers was their conclusion. is it possible to misdignose and how do we find out? he is to start taking aricept next. only 65 years old. no alzheimers in the family that we know of.

  12. I’m on 75mg at the moment and there is something to be said for physical activity. I’m now working as an Agency Nurse in Nursing Homes and thework is far more physical than I’m used to. After a shift I feel mentally quite alert,thinking is quicker and I can remember things better. This wears off after about 6 – 7 hours and I get very tired the next day. I also feel happier when I get home, this doesn’t last long though mainly due to my wife not understanding that I feel low and exhausted a lot of the time. She calls me pathetic and a lot more to boot. I do try to ignore it but it’s difficult. I have to ask her to repeat what she said sometimes as I forget quickly at home and she calls me thick and stupid.
    What suppliments can I take that would help my memory.??

    PS. Forgive my spelling as I’m forgetting how to spell as well !!!

    XX

  13. i’ve heard a lot lately about http://www.prevagen.com/

    also B3, CoQ10, Omegas & Vitamin K (which works with Vitamin D)…

    Let me know what doc says monday and I will also check in with the integrative health docs i work with for other ideas.

    I get tired after exercise. the glow wears off for sure. BUt I cannot stress enough the power of yoga, particularly Ivengar Yoga and any kind of agility training where you have to learn to focus on the different parts and positioning of y our body neurogenesis is KEY!

  14. Well, hopefully my doctor will wean me off the Effexor but then what? I have had depression forever. What do I go on next? Started out on — um, see, I can’t remember!! That sucks, anyway, eventually was changed to Zoloft and when that quite working was put on the Effexor, which was awesome for the depression–and we all know what happened then. I am scared to try something else but scared to be on nothing. frustrating…..

    • NO this is NOT true. There are so many advances being made now. As yo are weaning off, you are supplmeneting, you are changing your life style, you are retrainng your brain to , building new neural pathways. tacking that HPT Axis (forget it that is the right acronym.

      You know what I’d like to do. I’d like to start a weely hang out for those of us who are struggling with this. Do you use Google + yet? You can create a private group there and schedule virtual hangouts for a particular time … we could get a small group together to touch base in real time and offer solutions.

      Let me know.

      This is just the beginning of your fight.! Trust me. Im 60 and I’ve been battling this my whole life and for the first time ever I am making progress independent of the medicatiion model.

      It can be done. Not easy. But possible. Not that there aren’t slip backs. but they are never total remissions because I have built the skills and the connections to pull me back before i get too far gone.

      I am here to help you and to promise you. IT WILL GET BETTER and no, you will not be depressed forever.

  15. Here we go, met with my dr. today and will go down from 150 to 37.5 three tmes a day for a week and then 37.5 twice a day for a week and then 37.5 once a day……….I told him that I wasn’t feeling so positive about going down that fast but he said I would be the judge and go slower if need be. I am also hoping to walk more as the weather has been very beautiful here, then will hit the mall in cold weather. I don’t know, it sounds too easy. The doc did say I will go through types of withdrawls so might as well “get ‘er done”. Easy for him to say. Told my boss and she was surprised when I said “Effexor” (her eyes got huge) and she said, “that’s what my Mom was on and she had terrible short memory loss” so in a way it is nice that my boss is understanding that part!! I am scared, I just know how sick I got when I missed 2 doses, forced my nauseated stomache to keep an effexor pill down and put myself to bed, not even knowing if I would wake up again!
    I got the print out of the drug description from my pharmacist and he said he had heard of the short term memory loss but nothing about brain zaps or major cognitive problems. Any tips on doing this weaning-off and how slow to go??? Like I said before, here we go………………….thanks

    ps What is Google+ ?

  16. 1. you are NOT on Effexor XR?
    2. what kind of doc is this?
    3. what are plans after going down so low?
    4. its way too quick a cut back!!!

    Google + is like facebook.

  17. 1. yes, it is Effexor XR
    2. MD Family Practice
    3. try Wellbutrin if needed
    4. I started today and no brain zaps but still cognitive problems will see what happens why?

    I am still furious at the drug company. The pharmacist had heard of short term memory loss with Effexor XR ONLY, not any of the other side effects.

  18. i would just go slower in the taper down and add (seriously, to avoid a major crash) Yoga and meditation, think about 5HTP supplement when you get down low or having the doc put you on prozac for the final taper down. I would ask the MD how much experience he/she has with integrative medicine and can you get a referral? I would think about a neurologist … the cognitive probs will not go away for awhile and not without some work on your part with your brain. I wish we could start a class action suit again Wyeth and i thought i would share something I wrote for a group called Kosability @ Daily Kos http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/09/21/1013352/-KosAbility:-The-Taking-of-The-Cookie-Tea

    I see my therapist today … cognitive therapy is short term and you see immediate results PLUS is covered by most insurance cos. will ask about your docs ideas and for her input.

    stay in touch. and if i don’t get back to you for a few days don’t think i’ve forgotten. im a writer and sometimes i just need to shut off the connection to the internet ….

  19. A few weeks ago, I was explaining to my doctor the things I was forgetting (even how to get to a location I’ve been to MANY times!), mistakes I’m making, blanking on spelling, words, etc. She felt some of these things may be due to early dementia, which has absolutely devastated me, and I have been torturing myself ever since when I forget things, etc. thinking “oh no, it’s dementia!” My therapist though feels it is basically from anxiety, that I am a worrier, and find it difficult to always be in the moment, paying attention to what I am doing now, rather than my mind racing in all directions.
    I have been on Effexor XR for YEARS, different doses. About a month ago I stopped Effexor XR (it had started making me feel WAY WORSE) and I changed to Welbutrin and Celexa, and taking Seroquel at night.
    None of the memory/mental issues have gotten better, and from what I read elsewhere by some people who have been off for years, that it may not get better. So essentially it is no different than dementia. How disheartening ! There should be a lawsuit against the makers of this horrible drug.

    • Sounds like you need to find NEW network of professionals supporting you, hook up with someone who is working as a fitness trainer — a really good fitness trainer knows more about how the mind works than most of these doctors and therapists who dole out pharmaceuticals which blunt or try to blunt symptoms and create new often worse ones. Check out Crazyboards which is run by a good friend of mine who writes there under moniker “Velvet Elvis” …

      I am so sorry you are on this new cocktail… Yoga, mindful meditation, supplements with the assistance of a professional for determining which ones will be the best.

  20. I am 28 years old currently and have been taking Effexor xr for over ten years. I thought when it was the first drug to really control my horrible depression problems that it was the most wonderful thing, but now I am having serious doubts.

    Depression is terrible, especially when you self-mutilate, but what is worse really? That or forgetting my own son’s milestones? I can’t even remember that we took him to the national fair 2 weeks ago. When I saw the pictures from it I was completely shocked…and I was in the pictures with him! I feel like I am crazier than ever! My husband and mom look at me like I am crazy when I ask about things that we have done before, not remembering that we have done them.

    What is weirder is that I was sick this past weekend with something flu-like and since then my memory has been terrible! I can’t remember asking my boss for a raise just last week! It seems like since I was sick I can’t remember the most basic of things! What is wrong with me???

    I am not having the “brain zaps” or th spelling issues so much as just simply forgetting my life. I honestly feel like an amnesiac at times. I just wish I didn’t have these problems, depression and now memory loss…it makes things so difficult. I am scared to death about forgetting my own child’s milestones!! Help!!!

    • Do you have medical insurance? I would serioulsy if you do see about seeing a neurologist — someone who specializes in changes to the brain and find someone who can get you off this medication right now. From my research this is the worst med for memory… how about Lexapro?

      I am working on a regime right now of 150 day 1 75 day 2 adding lexapro to get totally off the Effexor ….

    • My husband is experiencing the same things. We have 4 children and he can’t even remember things he has done and when he sees himself in photos from vacations it’s like he is looking at someone else in the pictures.
      I seen that your post was from over 4 years ago. Have you gotten any better since then?

  21. Are you aware of any scientific studies that reveal whether or not people have been able to regain memory lost after coming off Effexor?

  22. My memory loss has been of great concern for me for a while now. I’ve been on Effexor 225mg daily for a couple of years now but have really taken notice this year that my memory consistantly fails me. Also having conversations can be tiring and frustrating because i forget the words i want to say and end up not making much sense. I feel like my mind is just slowing down and the fact i can’t remember things from a day ago really scares me. Im married with two kids, i’m 30 and i feel scared i’m losing my mind.
    However, i am well aware of the withdrawal effects of reducing my dosage – the zaps, nausea, stomach cramps etc so i feel like it’s a loose/ loose situation.
    Overall i must say this drug has saved my life. After 2 suicide attempts i generally feel ‘happier’ not suicidal and not so negative. But lately have been cutting a few times in the last few months.
    Atleast by reading this forum i’ve found comfort that i’m not the only one suffering from the memory loss…..

  23. Wow. What an insightful thread. I had exactly the same issues when on Effexor. On one hand, it allowed me to pick my head up and start to live again. On the other hand, the mental blanks in my speech and thoughts were humiliating.

    I’ve been off for 6 months now, but the anxiety is back in full force. When off it, I worked really hard at memorizing names, poetry, facts. I wasn’t great at it, but it was getting better, I think. That fuzzy blankness was gone.

    But I’m heading back on Effexor. Having read this, I’ll try 75 mg/day instead of the 150 I was on before. I do NOT want to return to apologizing for not remembering meeting people! I wish there was another option! (Yes — CBT, yoga, exercise and meditation are fabulous tools in the toolbox. I’m doing them all every day. They just aren’t quite enough for me — yet.)

    • I want to edit my previous entry since I think it’s not a great idea to start messing around with dosage on a whim. I’m back onto 150 mg/day and feeling much better. I’ll work with a doctor to reduce it as I move forward with other approaches (mindfulness, meditation, etc.). But I don’t want to advocate making up your own dosage without some rationale for it.

  24. Same issues with memory loss, word retrieval, cognitive thinking, work-related issues, etc. with Citalopram(Celexa). I wish there was some kind of recognized disability claim associated with the long-term effects of taking these kinds of medications…no doctor ever told me about these kinds of side effects.

  25. Your not alone see effexorwithdrawaltopix
    for a taper schedule so you can get off the meds.

  26. OMG I’m soooo glad I found this!!!! I have all the same things you have talked about! I thought it was just me! I’m so glad I’m not alone! My memory sucks since I started taking the drugs. I’m off them now, and very glad that I am. However I feel like my memory impacted, even now. I can’t remember anything no matter how long I study! Its awful! Had I known about this side effect I never would have taken this medicine.

    • there are ways you can work on improving your memory … and retrieving memories via hypnotherapy, re-learning skill sets which involve those parts of the brain where ltm are stored … do some investigation …

  27. I am seeeing a cognitive therapist as well, Matt. And it is really helping me. I also started working with a new body worker who does rolphing(sp) and he says this will help so much with cognitive issues. The focus in most of this work is to learn to be in the present moment, to regain the ability to focus — to teach our minds how to focus so that it becomes almost as automatized as our motor movements.

    I will definitely email you directly and I would really like it very much if we created an ongoing support and informational network for everyone. Some people post here once and then I never hear again and I think about every story and wonder how things are going. I also showed this thread to my therapist, who has passed it on to numerous associates. Our goal here has to be to inform as many professinals as possible that this is not mere heresay…

  28. Hi, I’m a 36 year old woman who has suffered from depression from my late teens. I have been taking venlafaxine for about 12 years. Mainly on 300mg per day.
    I have the worst memory of anybody I know. It’s literally in one ear and out the other!
    It causes lots of problems for me in life and in personal relationships.
    I can be distracted in an instant and forget things no matter how important. I would not have started on this drug if I had any idea how it would affect my life.
    However it also saved my life at the time as I suffer chronic, depression.

  29. I am a pharmacist and also have been taking Effexor for several years. I have also noticed a memory issue. I am going to start working on memory…yoga, memory exercises, learining a new language, etc. If anyone has any info on reversibility of the memory issues…please let us all know. In the meantime, I will be tapering off the medication slowly and read about healing the brain.

    • I am in Day 3 of taper down from 150 to 112.5 …. headaches, depression. Found out last week that I have the beginnings of Glaucoma which Effexor XR is one of the primary drugs implicated in possible onset of. Still, the optometrist knows nothing about why the burning, stinging, why the interaction between Glaucoma and Effexor… I had read about Macular Degeneration and never expected Glaucoma….

      Yoga. Exercise. Aminos. Moving forward.

      • I am now down to 75 mg of Effexor XR. It has been a little over a week at this dosage. Some days are worse than others but overall Im doing well. Sleeping is a problem at times but I listen to music to work on creating D waves .. that truly does wonders.

  30. I was on effexor for 7 years. I felt that I would die if I stayed on it as my heart was racing beyond control all the time. Every time I went to refill my prescription the pharmacist would call my doctor to make sure it was right. It was absurdly high. I cant remember the dosage as I cant remember quite a bit from those years nor the 4 or so before. This memory loss happened while on it and has not improved. I was able to come off of it however when I joined a brain nutrition program that helped me ween myself off while supporting the side effects with supplements. Once I was off the effexor the side effects were still very noticable. I went through a couple of years of crazy 3 week headaches that were the intensity of migraines. Luckilly these are gone but the memory still sucks but I have been able to start exercising and working again. Even ran 2 marathons since. Ive been off the effexor 4 years now and it feels good to be myself again. now if I could only regain my memory.

    • Are you trying any cognitive training programs? I do Luminoisty online training every morning now and they have quite a range of exercises for memory…. I am going the ‘brain food’ way as well on my descent from Effexor … right now I am down to 37.5 and using samE, throzine, lithate, 5000 mgs of super powered omegas, DHEA, pregnenalone …. magnesium ALONG with seeing an Osteopath, yoga and exercise. Managing to keep the side effects relatively in control in my 4th day (we’re doing 37.5, 75, 37.5, 75… until Wednesday, then 37.5 every day until next taper down)….

      Meditation and specifically mindful meditation also key parts of my program. I am into my third month now and am off one drug totally.

      Great success story. Any other info you could share about your ‘revovery’ from this med and what you recall about getting off would be fabulous.

      • hello- I am going to look up Luminosity- thanks for the tip. You know a really weird thing that help me with the withdrawls everytime i reduced the dosage was going to the ionic footbath place. dont know how it works or why it would but it did. another thing that i did was the braverman tests, they helped me figure out where my brain chemistry stood from one week to the next. i then balanced it off with the various supplements. I started working with a man Juan Pablo Girardi, he was a huge help in this process, it was really a scary tapering off period though but it is definitely worth it. please let me know if there is anything i can do to help.

  31. great ideas. do you recall which cut back was the worst? And how long a period there was between 37.5 and 0.. did you go on Prozac for the end? AND what do YOU think causes the headaches?

    • i want to say i did 37.5 for 2 weeks then half dose, 2 weeks but im not certain, you could talk to juan pablo girardi though and ask his suggestion. I didnt do Prozac after, I just wanted to be off anything drug like but i did continue with higher amounts of a formula called Brain Mood, another Brain Energy, and Brain Memory. Once completely off I also moved onto Rodeola Rosea. That one I waited to start as it would be too much with the effexor. Rodeola is great though and keeps the spirits up without the crazy speed high of the pharma route.

  32. i want to say i did 37.5 for 2 weeks then half dose, 2 weeks but im not certain, you could talk to juan pablo girardi though and ask his suggestion. I didnt do Prozac after, I just wanted to be off anything drug like but i did continue with higher amounts of a formula called Brain Mood, another Brain Energy, and Brain Memory. Once completely off I also moved onto Rodeola Rosea. That one I waited to start as it would be too much with the effexor. Rodeola is great though and keeps the spirits up without the crazy speed high of the pharma route.

  33. Ah yes i have heard about the Rodeola. Great idea. Today is a bad one, first since this cut back. Will look into brain mood and brain energy. .Don’t know who juan pablo girardi is but will google him. i can’t tell you how much i appreciate this feedback.

  34. I have been trying to withdrawal from Effexor for a few weeks now. I should look for a detox program as I have been suffering greatly.

    • i am there with you. i am on day 4 of 37.5 and let me tell you it is so horrible. I talk to other people who say they had to check themselves into hospital. What I am doing:

      Supplements:
      5000 mg Omega 3
      samE 3xdaily
      Pregnenalone
      DHEA
      FolicAcid
      Lithate
      Gaba

      Yoga 3-4x a week. Mindful Meditation. try to do daily. Agility and balance work. Cardio 3 x a week. Reading mysteries.Taking advil. Having trouble finding foods to eat that don’t disturb my stomache.

      Somedays I feel like dying. But I make myself get up. Get out. Engage. And look to have a day where the positives have more weight than the negatives. I try to redefine my place in my universe every day. And somedays I can’t even get off the couch. Somedays I spend many hours sick in the bathroom. It feels like that train from HUGO is running through my head rather than through the train station….

      Good luck

  35. Hey, I would like to share with my story. one while I was working night shift ( for almost 3 months with no one day off) I thought of having nap at least for one hour. out of a sudden I woke up feeling dizzy and fainting and felt like I’m dying. my heart beats was like going to throw my heart out of my chest. I ran to hospital I felt hard to explain what I’m having and they rushed me to ICU with all Cardio equipment on my chest. all tests were taken and the result ” Nothing “, and they gave me Valium ( its like a drug to sleep ) and discharged same day. next day I was feeling ok and thinking that what happend is basically due to stress and lack of sleep.
    guess what? it attcked me again but this time not alone, it was accompained with depression thinking all the time that I m having serious issue that will kill me. went to hospital again and they transferred me to Psychaitrist. she precribed me with Effexor XR 75ml for 8 months. it was a great solution for me, yes at the begining I experinced some bran zaps and nausea but it didnt last more than one week. I continued with this med for 8 months and then decided to wean off. it wasnt cold turky, rather is was under my doc supervision. it took me like two months to wean off. it was horrible but wasnt so bad or sever. after that, three months later I started having issue with my body ( fatigue, fainting, palpitation and mid depression) I did check up with my doc and found that Vitamin D was so low 6.4 where normal should be 77 or somthing, and then found calcuim a little bit low but other things where found to be ok and perfect.

    now, I m in the fourth month and still having some effects that I would say its all becoz of effexor. it messes up your brain neurotransmitters checmical that let you feel things that doesnt make sense at all.

    I m thinking to make a video to WARN people about this med, I m doing my research to link the drop on some Vitamins and this med which I think is the main cause behind the severity of the withdrawl side effects.

    the good part is that I m feeling much better now than the begining days of the withdrawl but not 100%.

    and I m just 26 old!!

    wish all the best..

    • I’ve been on Effexor for a little over a month but my fuzziness is so bad I’m getting off of it. Haven’t had too much trouble with that at all but the memory thing is really scaring me. Is it going to come back? Am I going to be okay? I’m absolutely terrified.

      • checking in to see how you are doing. My memory definitely has improved with the decrease in dosage of Effexor XR. But you have to exercise your brain!

  36. I was on effexor for 5 years and my memory is shot. All my friends & Family sit around talking about things we did and I have no clue what they are talking about. Even small things like watching Jeopardy. I enjoyed the challenge because it made me feel smart now I feel stupid when I watch it. I know what I know but when it comes to spitting out the answer I go blank. That along with the brain zaps and loss of emotions. I can’t concentrate on anything. When I try I get a jolt and I forget what it was I was thinking. It’s as if my brain resets itself. I also feel I can’t feel happy anymore. I use to relate happy feelings with memories. It feels as if my brain was wiped clean or part of it has died.

  37. When I got off effexor it was hell. The head spins, double vision & nausea. I was honestly crawling on the floor because I couldn’t walk. It took me a good month and a half to feel close to normal. When I was on it it did take away my anxiety and I am a little better today. But I think just growing older and not caring so much about the things that were important when you were younger resolved most of my issues. I have to say though, if I could go back in time I would not take it. I know it sounds funny but I was happier being depressed.

  38. Hi, I have been taking anti-depressants for 15 years, being that probably 10 of those on effexor… my memory loss is getting embarassing, and really affecting my professional life. I am scared. I am 42 yrs old and doing a master’s degree. I had very good grades in college, but now I am really underperforming. I know the age is a factor, but there are situations which I don’t see happening with people around me, no matter what age. For example, I just found out I missed a meeting at work, which I myself set up and sent invitations for, only yesterday! People waited for me and I never showed up, because I just completely forgot that I had set up the appointment. I remember that yesterday I had pondered whether I should set an especific meeting, or should just send a message saying I would call them in the afternoon and see if they were available. Today I thought I had opted for the second, but when I called them they said they had been waiting for me for an hour, and now were busy with something else. I was so embarassed I just pretended I was busy, instead of admitting I had forgotten. I know, I could have set up an alarm, but I really should be able to remember things I decided to do only yesterday!!!
    I have tried to get off effexor by myself, but then the depression set in and I started to fail at work and school… I really need to seek profession help to get me off this medication. But most doctors are afraid to take me off, even though I never had a very severe depression. I was put on this because of a mild depression and because of a family history of severe depression. But given the long-term side-effects, this should be used to cure depression, no prevent it. Darn bad doctors out there, I tell you. I am sorry to see all of you struggling with this too. My best wishes for your recovery. Sincerely, Ana.

    • PS. I forgot to mention: I don’t smoke, don’t do drugs (any other drugs, I should say), or drink. I have recently entered early menopause though, which affects concentration, but I am doing hormone replacement therapy, which should make up for that. The memory loss I feel nowadays is different from what I used to have all along my life. This isn’t just forgetting something momentaneously, and after someone reminds you of it, then you can sudden recollect the whole thing completely. No, this is a foggines of the mind. I now remember setting up the meeting yesterday, but only very hazily… I really would have to go look up my messagens to make sure I did set up the meeting, because just from memory I wouldn’t say I was 100% sure. Is this normal? Why do I have a feeling it’s not normal? When I study for the master’s, I feel my brain is working overtime, and every piece of information is foggy. To be like this once in a while would be fine, but I am like this every day now. There is no day when I feel like I am fully awake or my brain is especially sharp.
      Also, I have successfully weaned off effexor once, when I was trying to get pregnant, and my therapist-psychiatrist helped me. It was great, I felt nothing bad, and spend one whole year without the medication and without any symptons of depression! But then my relationship ended and the psychiatrist convinced me to go back to effexor, just because I didn’t want to get pregnant anymore, even though I was feeling fine! She said it was a preventive treatment, because my mom suffered from bipolar disease, and so to prevent developing something similar, I should be on effexor for at least five more years. Well, now, five years later, I have moved to another town, and financial conditions do not allow me to continue weekly therapy. I recently tried to get off the meds by myself, reducing the dosage slowly, but the depression set back in, so I returned to the medication and had to augment the dosage … I feel so trapped! Like someone hooked me on drugs, I now I can’t get out. I feel like in order to wean off this, I will have to spend zillions on an expensive therapy again. The med industry have us all as hostages, in their hands. It’s a very sad situation.

      • Ana,
        Sorry it took me so long to reply. Getting off Effexor is a process which for me is taking years. I am now down to 75 mg and working with cognitive behaioral therapy and mindfulness based medication as well as supollmeneting with Magnesium, 4000 mg high quality Omegas, GABA, Dopatone, and some progeterone and a lotion i put on my wrists every night for my adrenals is my current treatment plan.

        I also try to do the online Lumosity which helps enormously with restoring cognitive ablities. Memory has definitely improved.

        Let me know how you are doing.

  39. Hi. I was on Effexor XR for most of 14 years at various dosages. I recently found out that I am also bipolar after having a few manic episodes with psychotic symptoms that were induced due to extreme stress and disruption of circadian rhythms. I am also a recovering drug addict with almost 2 years clean. I did not notice the memory loss so much while I was on Effexor, I noticed a little but I attributed that to my illicit drug use in the past, but after I have stopped taking it for a few months my memory loss and cognitive function is so much worse. I wanted to start taking it again because I suffer from extreme depression and debilitating obsessive thoughts. I took one dose of 37.5 the other day and could feel the effects within a few hours and felt better but then at night there were flashing lights and scary images behind my eyes when I tried to go to sleep and I felt like something was cutting my brain, which I guess are similar to the “brain zaps” that people talk about. I didn’t take it anymore for a few days but my depression and obsessive thoughts are so bad that I took it again today because I can’t see my Dr. for a few more days and the depression is so debilitating but I really don’t want to continue taking it with all of the scary side effects that it has. Does anyone know of an antidepressant that helps with obsessive thinking that has fewer damaging side effects than Effexor? I am also on Trileptal and have Seroquel to take PRN but I haven’t needed the Seroquel much. Thanks.

    • I don’t even know where to begin responding to your post. For starters: those flashing lights and images when you closed your eyes at night? They are symptoms that the synapses in your brain are firing. They are actually signs that something is shifting and can be taken as positive indicators. So don’t let that scare you off.

      I am down from 300 mg of Effexor XR to 75 over at least 12 years since switch from Paxil and other SSRIs. I attempted to get totally off Effexor a year ago and got as low as 37.5 before another crisis had us bump me up.

      The brain fog and memory loss are definite side effect of the Effexor XR but are exacerbated by the use of other drugs. Most highly implicated are ANY pain meds and benzos over any extended period of time. I stopped taking Trazadone which works on histamine resceptors and that definitely helped with the fugue state and the memory and cognituve disfunctions as well.

      The obsessive thoughts DO END once you get stabilized on the right med. When they start coming back for me, when that pattern which is akin to an addiction because you are as addicted to the cycle of obsessing as you are to a drug which you keep using even when you know it will not lead to any resolution can be interrupted with the right medication.

      I strongly advise seeking the help of an integrative med doc, looing into mindfulness based meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy. These practices along with the use of supplements (GABA, Dopatone, Magnesium, B, huge doses of Omegas and a gluten free diet along with Yoga and regular exercise are what work for me .

      A tall order, I know, cause when you are depressed doing anything is so frigging hard but that’s my treatment plan.

  40. hello, thanks for the blog which is a very important moment of confrontation given that mainstream science does not recognize this very serious side effect of effexor.
    I took the drug for about 8 years. I noticed that my memory had some difficulties, but that depended on the drug was for me just a hunch, until I discovered this blog.
    is outrageous! In Italy, some users report that this problem in the forum of medicine receives answers from doctors who deny the problem.
    I also have the impression that after discontinuing the drug, the memory problem is worse. (I say memory but not only that … is a clouding overall cognitive).
    I must say though that I have suspended the drug in a time of severe crisis and work that went into a state of depression. I have the impression that depression increases the cognitive deficit.
    I would like to ask everyone this:
    1) those who have recovered her memory after time and maybe after exiting the crisis of depression? and those who have never recovered after years?
    2) you have changed your medication for depression?
    3) someone has used salvia divinorum?
    thanks

    • 1. Yes. Use yoga, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (Look up Rick Hansen, for example and Mark Williams tapes), and Lumosity, an online program to help improve working memory.
      2. Working with a nutritionist/pharmacologist who is providing me with supplments to help my body make for example dopamine (called Dopatone) and serotonin (Tryptophan) and also taking magnesium, calcium, creams to support adrenal health, 5HTP, 4000 mg Omega. Down to 1 mg from 3 of Klonopin and holding at 75 Effexor XR from 150. Off Lexapro totally.
      3. Haven’t used salvia but have read a lot about the use of mushrooms and the like as alternative treatments

  41. Dear boatsie,
    Meanwhile, I apologize for my English which is the result of the translator google. Even my ability to understand what is written on the blog is restricted to the same reason. However, I’ve seen it in more detail after my first post and I have to say thank you for the work you have done, and compliment you on your person, that I learned about on the internet.
    I think you’re an extraordinary person also because from what I see you have two conflicting components of your character:
    1) a painting that you like a strong person and determined to pursue your noble goals (not just related to the care of the disease);
    2) the other component of the weakness inherent in depression (depression is qualified by some as SELIGMAN as the state of those who feel powerless in the sense permanent and pervasive).
    That these two characters are within the same person is amazing, even if you somehow think that’s it for me too.
    I think the connecting link between your helplessness and your strength and determination is a deep human sensitivity.
    I say these things because somehow recognize myself in tea (although I would like to find the same strength to get out of depression).
    Now I talk about myself. My work is different from yours, (I do not say for privacy) but I also wrote some journalistic article and I just finished a mystery novel.
    I had severe depression as a young man around 24 years old and I left off with medication. Over the past 8 years with effexor. The last year I had a crisis at work: I have blown a promotion already achieved and this has triggered a series of negative consequences (the emergence of envy for the chance of my promotion) and the worsening of my social problems.
    In December 2012 I stopped taking my 75 mg of effexor. The mild memory problems that I had slowly become heavy. The pschiatra told me it was a fact related to temporary nervous breakdown in progress. I was starting to take effexor in April and after a few days I discovered your blog and I fell into a panic, because I realized that the cognitive opacity would be permanent. I deleted effexor cold turkey (I know now that it is an error). Now I live a moment of crisis depression (although they are almost always gone to work) with sleeplessness, panic moments, bad thoughts etc..
    I’m finding supplements: I took omega 3, ginkgo biloba, Eleutherococco, and Hypericum perforatum. On the advice of my doctor lately instead of Hypericum perforatumi’m trying Griffonia simplicifolia.
    I tried to do a bit of physical activity (just because I am a bit lazy)
    Also about an year I do cognitive behavioral therapy.

    also following your advice I eliminated gluten and doubled the omega 3.
    I intend also to do a lot more physical activity.
    But some things I want to ask:
    1) on cognitive behavioral therapy: you talk very well, but I am unsure whether to continue with the same therapist, therapist or therapy change: this summer I read a lot of Seligman on positive psychology and positive on the approach to life that allows you to exit the loop of negative thoughts, negative feelings, depression, negative thoughts. In fact I have the impression that cognitive behavioral therapy has brought me to suffer even more to have discovered how wrong I’ve done. I’d like to have a comment on this and the positive psychology;
    2) I want to know something more about the forms of meditation. I had started one month ago some exercises NPL. You suggest Yoga (yoga more physical activity I will have the desire for both?) And mindfulness. you could say somthing more about?
    3) how has improved your cognitive ability? I have the impression to live forever or almost as if I slept only 2 or 3 hours at night, you had the same feeling and now you’re back to being more lucid?
    Thank you so much for everything you do

    • Ecco quello che so di terapia cognitivo-comportamentale . Ed è per questo lo yoga funziona così bene , anche. Si tratta di sostituire i vecchi schemi di pensiero con quelli nuovi e di essere in questo momento. Se si impara a essere intensamente in ogni momento e di impegnarsi a che con ogni nucleo del tuo essere si è in grado di ingannare a volte la depressione .

      Proprio ora , quando sento la depressione in arrivo, mi muovo subito . Non do il tempo di stabilirsi in cammino e scattare foto . Io ascolto i suoni della natura e aspirare i colori e gli odori . Yoga : ( adesso io appartengo a uno studio di yoga , che è molto spirituale e noi Hatha Yoga Flow e Aruvedic ) ho andiamo cinque volte a settimana .

      Meditazione Consapevole : Cercare il lavoro di Jon Zinn . Ascolto Rick Hanson e faccio anche Yoga Nidra di notte per dormire. Questo tipo di meditazione focalizzata e la scienza dietro il lavoro ( Utilizzando Yoga per cambiare il cervello ) è stato davvero utile .

      Tanto di recupero o di essere in procinto di recupero invece di essere nella malattia è imparare ad essere in sintonia con le indicazioni del vostro corpo … i sentimenti della tua ‘ budello ‘ o il tuo cervello di malessere e di rendersi conto che non sei di questa malattia , non sono la vostra depressione . E ‘ solo uno di una SPECT di voi e si deve lavorare di più per rafforzare le altre parti di voi , se avete intenzione di avere una possibilità di combattere contro di esso .

      Cambia il tuo Locale Cervello . Rick Hanson libro che si può ottenere su Amazon

      Meditazioni di cambiare il vostro cervello http://www.rickhanson.net/multimedia/audio/store

      https://www.google.it/ # q = + Rick Hanson

      Ecco un link per Jon Kabat Zin nastri in italiano su Mindfulness http://www.mindfulnesscds.com/languages/italian.html

      Ogni giorno nella mia casella di posta che ricevo una mail da Sounds True http://www.soundstrue.com/shop/welcome

      Non so cosa dire in questo momento sulla memoria tranne che trovo toccando in altri miei sensi mi aiuta a recuperare i ricordi e di essere in ogni momento impronte più pienamente il momento più forte nella mia mente.

      Mi dispiace tanto per le vostre lotte .

      Si tratta di un un giorno alla volta processo . Alcuni giorni sono migliori di altri . E anche io ho lottato per tutta la mia vita con l’impatto della depressione e quindi l’impatto dei farmaci su tutti gli aspetti della mia vita : personale, professionale e sociale.

      Il mio cuore è con voi

      • thanks boatsie,
        for his advice and for your kind words ..
        I wish all the best to you and keep your temper.
        I will try to follow your advice. I have a small child and I have to be strong for him One thing that troubles me is that even He can have my own problems. But at least if so will I will tell him not to commit the same mistakes.
        thank you again.

  42. I forgot I tried Lumosity, but it is in English and it is difficult for me. But I hope to replace studying for my work.

  43. my physciatrist just recomended effexor to help me with chronic anxiety and social phobia as ive had this for 23 years after i was badly assaulted,
    but im so afraid to take the tablets after reading how people are loosing there minds on this vicious drug. i dont like the idea of brain zaps either.
    The drugs companies should be sued for destroying healthy minds with this poisonous drug. im keeping my mind and my sanity.

  44. Dear Bootsie,
    how are you? I hope good.
    I’m struggling with my problems and so I’m still looking for help.
    In the absence of the drug, my depression is much worse and also causing panic attacks, never had so badly.

    With the doctor so I decided to go back to drugs: I’m starting with the tofranil that I had used before and I had never caused memory problems.
    Meanwhile, however, my memory problems continue and are very sorry for the consequences on work and my life.
    My fear is that memory problems can be transformed into dementia.
    So I ask you a big favor, which can be very helpful to all who read the forums, you can ask by e-mail to those who have registered if they wish to release a new witness on their memory after a few years? If you are still on drugs? etc.
    Thanks, I hope I do not disturb and do not abuse of your kindness.

    • My memory is so much better! Due to problems in my family and anxiety attacks I have had to temporarily increase my dose of klonopin and within a day or two I can see the mental dulling and the memory problems return. But I can tell you that I was functioning so well when I was down to 1 mg and even on the 75 Effexor XR things were better. There were still problems with word retrieval and episodic memory loss but I felt I was on the right path. Did you ever read and I may have mentioned before The Brain that Reinvented Itself? There are so many findings in cognitive science today which prove that we can fix our brains, that we can restore parts which were broken and we can reaccess memories. Those parts of our lives in whcih we are not totally present, and so we forget say a conversation or a movie ending or a book or an article, we learn to be totally present and retain that interaction. So some things we cannot reaccess because we did not consciously experience them. We were too drugged or too depressed or anxious to truly be in life. We can learn to do that again.

      Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. My blood tests came back showing severe dehydration. I forget to drink all day! And then I drink sparkling water which leeches water out of you. That can be a major contributor to anxiety. As again can blood sugar and eating carbs.

      Stay in touch and don’t give up hope. Meditate.

  45. hi everyone. I’m Will. 30-year-old male.

    I’m grateful for your shares and for this website.

    I had managed to get off effexor 75mg which I’d been taking for about 5 years. I stopped cold turkey: I felt really really rough for about a week (electric shocks – ‘zaps’ – irritable, fatigue, confusion, intermittent overwhelming sadness / happiness, nausea, dodgy bowels) and by the second week I was functioning reasonably well albeit with some of the above listed symtoms. Week three onwards, day by day, I felt more alive, quicker witted, faster-paced thoughts, greater verbal dexterity, improved memory, sexual appetite, food tasted nicer etc.

    But two months after stopping I had a setback and major anxiety kicked in so I reached for the effexor – again 75mg. The anxiety soon left and has left me desiring a medication free life again (I crave a better memory, a better sex life, greater awareness, more emotional control). So, two weeks ago I halved my 75mg capsules (emptied out half of the seeds), three days ago I stopped altogether. Yesterday and most of today the withdrawal effects have been horrendous but seem to be lessening already. Probably because I did some weening this time round.

    I am exploring other ways of dealing with my mental afflictions. Breathing exercices, mindfulness technics, better diet etc. I will explore CBT when I have the time and ressources. I’m determined for this to work.

    I’ve read many of the shares with interest. They have helped me, thank you. Best of luck to all of you out there. It’s not easy, take it one day at a time.
    Love Will

  46. Hi there,
    I have taken this drug for approximately 15 years. The dose is 300 daily.
    I have repeatedly tried to reduce the dose to 225mg daily and I drop quickly into an incredibly severe depression.
    My doctor insisted I reduce dose for a period of 21 months, of this time I was extremely ill with severe depression for 16 months of it.
    I was having panic attacks, couldn’t talk to people, very withdrawn and it was simply utter determination that kept me in work.
    On my regular dose of 300mg I am ‘well’ for about 12 months I then have a severe period of depression for approximately 6 month and then the cycle begins again.
    I smoke I have put on lots of weight over the years, I struggle to eat a real meal and end up eating easy and high sugar snacks.
    When I am well I feel wired a lot and have trouble switching off and when depressed I don’t feel like I have a thought in my head.
    My memory has gradually become very difficult I now wear a small bag around me to keep the note book in so I can plan my day and write down what I have to do.
    My memory is legendary with my friends and family.
    I can set off in the car and forget where I was going and why.
    My family and friends help me to function by reminding me a lot and so do my work colleagues.
    The thing that really upsets me is that somebody can tell me something very heartfelt and if the conversation moves on it has literally gone from my mind.
    I struggle with word retrieval and mix words up and get sayings wrong.
    If a meet friends they will talk about things we did over the last 15 years and if they hadn’t brought it up I would never have recalled the memories myself and soon I have forgotten again.
    I believe it’s a mixture of mental illness and venlafaxine which has caused my cognitive and memory problems.
    I can’t see myself ever being able to get off this drug as even lowering the dose makes me suicidal

    • this is just not true. I could repeat almost every aspect of your story and tell you that it is possible to reclaim your life AND YOUR MIND. I cannot encourage enough looking at your diet very seriously to start with. I’ll bet your blood tests will show elevated sugar levels, low white blood counts, poor oxygenization, high cholesterol and if you did a cortisol test you would see your adrenals are totally messed up. I would urgently suggest beginning with redefining yourself as an individual who has a mental illness just as she also has other attributes and not definite yourself as mentally ill.

      These cycles you speak of: I have gone through them. All the memory problems, the social isolation. It is all so much better now. I do cycle, but I do recognize the warning signs of a downward cycle and put into place a really rigorous program to prevent it from kindling, even though I just want to curl up and die. This involves support groups ( ( go to AA and AlAnon and don’t know if this fits into your family history but in many people with depressive disorders it does). Yoga, Pilates. Mindful Meditation. And stop the sugar. Its so toxic for people with mental illness as is often gluten and wheat.

      And taper down to 275 first. Add supplements like high does of Omegas, tons of proteins, (I’ve written below about just some of the supplmeents I have used.

      I’m not saying I don’t have bad periods. I truly do.

      One thing I want to mention is that research has shown that these medications cause people over long periods of time to exhibit bipolar episodes. I noticed that as well. I would have wild mood swings, out of control anger and mania. I fight that today. In fact, I am a writer who now resists writing because it gets me so high and then I crash.

      That is like losing the identifying part of my soul.

      But my sanity. I have to safeguard all that I have worked for over the past few years since I cut ties with my pDoc and moved into integrative medicine.

      Find someone. Find an acupuncturist. That could be your first step. An acupuncurist can open doors to a whole new way of living for you.

      It might be difficult financially, but hopefully you have family who can help …

      You can do this.

    • It is the episodic memory which is so impaired and it does come back, at least the ability to be present in the moment and to use that part of the brain which forms connections to make and store memory.

      You have to give up sugar and nicotine. And you truly truly need to nourish your brain with adjuncts to the voids the medicine is filling in via supplements.

      I truly believe you can do this with the right support team. And I cannot urge you enough to not give up.

  47. Hi there,
    I want to thank you so much for your advice.
    I will do exactly as you have stated and firstly find a accupuncture practitioner.
    I feel very positive about what you have said and I appreciate the effort you have gone to very much .
    Best wishes and very well done yourself.
    It’s very helpful talking to somebody who has struggled in the same way.
    Many thanks
    Jane xx

  48. hi folk just wanted to chip in to this great website which has helped me by giving an up-date on my effexor weaning.

    It’s been two months since I stopped 75mg (was taking that dose for 5 years).

    I’m feeling, all-in-all, quite good. On the negative side, in a nut shell, i’m experiencing occasional mood swings, irritability and anger but I’m addressing this through mindfulness technics, working through them etc. Generally, I feel emotions more sharply, sex life is better, easier to laugh and thought-process is a bit quicker. I’ve been eating healthily, doing loads of sports. No booze or cigs! This is certainly helping to stabilise the moods to an extent.

    It is possible to come of the medication but it isn’t a walk in the park.

    If you decide to stop taking medication do it with a doc and don’t expect it to be super easy. Being on medication has it pros and cons, just like being off them. I’m not an expert, the above are just a few thoughts I’ve typed down as they’ve come to mind.

    Wishing everyone of you lots of love and strength to get through any hardships you have!
    Love Will

  49. hello YES it is true but i think some doctors and med fields just hide long time the side effects of Effexor -i was on very short time ont this medicine but i had horriblie side effects one of them was temporary memory lose after long time even i was no more on the medicine i still notice the damage what they did to my brain i still suffer from remembering some things for long term or recole the names of things the most what was upseting me was the fact that the doctor after my complain was trying to tell me that is nothing wrong with that medicine and i find out later how many people had the same problem like me so i was not the one who was making things up

  50. I am a nurse and have been on Effexor 150mg for 10 years. I thought I was having early onset Alheimers Disease . My short term memory is shot ,My medical terminology that has been second nature to me is slowly being lost. I lose my train of thought easily and cannot think of the words to complete what I was trying to say. I have started to wean myself by 37.5 mg every other day for 1 month.The second month I will go down by37.5 every 2 days for a month. I will use this until I am down by 37.5 xs 7 days. Then I will start over with another 37.5 using the same method. I use a calendar so I don’t forget. I would not recommend anyone trying this any faster because it is a wicked drug and if you do it too fast it may cause failure.Slowly but surely

    • Pamela,
      Can I ask if you are doing an extensive exercise in conjunction with this cut back? When I got down to this amount, I was exercising 4 times a week. I injured myself and the consequences of that impact on my brain chemistry resulted in a major depressive episode. Right now I am at 75 and doing yoga and meditating. About to reintroduce cardio. Hoping that will be the key.

  51. 7 yrs on this drug. 4 years trying to get off. No memory and effecting my daily life. I can’t remember words in the middle if a sentence. I can’t follow a conversation. I try to hide my problem but people comment ‘how bad my memory is’
    I take liquid form now and I’m down to 1.5mg for the last 5 days. I’m suffering anger outbursts and could cry easily.
    This is the closest I’ve got to getting off it without getting suicidle and wanting to throw myself under a train. I feel angry. I feel this is a drug which causes permanent damage to the brain.
    I don’t know if I’ll ever recover. I feel like videoing my experience and if I don’t get off it this time, I feel I’ll give up this time. Let them see what they have done while making their millions.

  52. If all the comments made here were done by the individuals themselves, I would say they aren’t doing too bad. The person I’m with used to be on the same drug and wouldn’t be able to even get a sentence together, much less type it or know how to spell anything. Today, he proceded to put the leftover meatloaf which was in a sandwich bag, in the dishwasher. they tell him he has Alzheimers and vascular dementia. He was on the Effexor for probably about 3 years when I started to notice how different he was becoming. He is 66 years old and doesn’t know that he is that age or when his birthday is anymore. This also doesn’t really fit the Alzheimers profile as they tell me that one usually remembers past history more versus the present. I will remind him to go to the kitchen to take his medicine, and that usually takes about 3 tries before he accomplishes that. Again, that is something that he has done for many years, but it doesn’t click. Is there any concrete evidence out there coming from pharmacy or drug companies with any warnings on the drug effexor?

  53. I couldn’t afford to get my prescription, I’m on 150mg a day. Its been 3 days without and i feel like im detoxing. Dizzy, eyes wont focus right, my mouth feels almost numb, nauseous, very panicky and emotional. Crying right now because im writing this. I will be getting enough to get me through till payday in the morning.
    Now i read this about possible memory loss , i have had a problem with not remembering some of the simplest things and i chalked it up to an accident i had 7 yrs ago. Some days i dont remember what i did that same morning and others i remember the now but not the past. Then there are days i feel like im missing just a few hours .

  54. Hi, I’ve been on Effexor 75mg for about 10 years. I started losing my memory about 6 years ago. I work in a creative business so people just think I’m a flaky artist type. I was never an “absent minded professor” kind of person but the last couple of years that’s who I’ve become. My word retention and memory is abysmal.

    Recently I believe it’s gotten worse. Thankfully I found this blog. I never EVER, EVER considered it could be caused by Effexor.

    To be honest it scares me. Could my memory possibly come back if I stop? What do most people say about their memory once off the pill?

    Well, I’m going to reduce by 10% a week. Hope that’s not too fast. Would love some input. Thanks again for having this blog.

  55. I’m having a really bad time with my memory, after 12 years of taking Effexor. I forget so many things now. I used to be proud of having a great memory. Now I can barely remember what I did yesterday, and I regularly pause in conversation because I can’t think what word it is I want to use, or what I was going to say next. I am hoping that it is the drug, and not any kind of early onset dementia. But I am getting very worried about it.

    • It is so difficult and frightening. Today I start the cutback from 37.5 Efffexor XR to 25 Effexor 1/2 am 1/2 pm. This has been a long journey. At one point I was up to 300mg. During this taper, which has been over years. setback after setback. And I am closer now than ever to getting off this med. And yes, cognitive dulling, memory loss are among the major side effects, in fact of most of the psychopharmaceuticals. My new doc put me on low doses of lamictal back in November as a bridge med to help get off the Effexor which he says no one should be prescribed now that they know how it actually parts of the brain which can exacerbate symptoms. I would really urge you to find an alternative. And a doc who knows how to help with tapering down and next steps.

    • I know you posted this a year ago but, I had to reply…you totally expressed how I am feeling and who I once was. I can not stand it when I can not find the words to say…and I am a speech therapist! All of this is terrifying me.

      • Updated brainzaps in response to all the comments on Effexor XR and memory loss. The only time I do not suffer from this problem is when I am in a state of flow, when I am in automaticity engaging in conversation or writing in whcihc I am so fluent in what I am involved in that I am out of time, kind of side stepping my brain.

  56. I was on effexor for a year or 2 and it worked wonderfully. My career was taking off and I was sharp as a whip. I went off it 5 years ago cold turkey because I felt so great for so long that I was sure everything was fine. Instantly I had intense memory issues. I worked at an Alzheimer’s facility so it scared the crap out of me that I instantly for no reason at all could no longer remember anything-and I do mean anything. I remember going to Fred Meyers and being ready to head out the door-couldn’t remember what store I was in or which part of the town the store was in to get home. I would go to the parking lot and not be able to find my car and not know which way to go out of the lot to get home. Imagine that. Absolutely terrifying at the age of 35. And, it happened again and again and again and was relentless. I worried for 3 years I would loose my job because I couldn’t remember anything-and eventually I did loose my job because of it. My boss was irritated because I was not smiling at people and greeting them in the hall. I didn’t know how to tell her I couldn’t recognize these people-could not remember my relationship to them-I knew I knew them but could not remember if I liked them or not/ any conversations we had had. I was absolutely desperate and went to my family dr for help. I could not articulate to them the problem. They couldn’t help me/didn’t even try because I literally could not speak. In situation after situation I had lost my ability to word find, form sentences, etc. Again, I can not tell you how terrifying this was. After 2-3 years of this I finally had to just tell people-at the store, on the phone, at the drs that I had trouble talking and needed their patience to communicate to them what I needed. It would take a horrendous amount of time-30 min, an hour, maybe more to explain a simple problem on the phone, My mind would wander, couldn’t concentrate at all on forming a sentence. I would become so terrified I began getting anxiety attacks and hysterical crying attacks because I would need help with something and had absolutely no way of conveying that. I had lost my vocabulary. I previously read 2-3 books a week.. I could no longer read a book. I could not read through a sentence and recall what I read/where I had left off. This went on for 2 years. I was afraid I was never going to get better. My daughter became resentful and angry with me because she thought I was doing this on purpose. She was 9 at the time and I had to repeatedly tell her I could not talk to her at all-not a word-or I would forget what I was doing and be late for work. And-that was the reality. She entered therapy for 2 years. I needed the help, but she got the therapy because she was on state medical and it was no cost to me, but the visits through the insurance I paid for for me were too expensive for me to get help. I got 5 free psych visits-which I had to spread through out the year, so they were not affective at all. The therapist I went to thought maybe I had a stroke and wanted me to get checked by the dr. I tried to call the dr but could not get the words out to explain to them what I needed. I sobbed and had to hang up. It was terrifying. Later, I met an old friend online whom I had went to high school with. He had always had very good verbal skill and we wrote back and forth for a year. At first I was afraid he would find out something was wrong with me, but gradually a lot of my access to my vocabulary came back and I am so grateful for that. I still have trouble remember movies and am slower getting through books, but I was so very grateful that first time I was able to read a complete book again. I want more than anything for my photographic memory that I had prior to all of this to come back, but I am not sure it ever will.

  57. A bit more on my recovery. In January of this year I got rid of my teflon pans and went organic/no GMO. In February I gave up caffeine. In March I started going off refined GMO sugar and severly limiting other sugars. In April I started going off processed foods. In May I started walking 20 min a day. In June (presently) I began running on my lunch breaks. I thought I would be feeling much better long ago-feeding and caring for my brain, but it has been a very long process. My asthma is gone. I can run-which I haven’t been able to do in a very long time, and I am finally, just in the past month or two beginning to get my mental speed back. I am planning at least a year long natural journey to getting my health back. Hoping by next year to finally be better than ever-we will see how it goes. I would love to hear others stories about how their memory has improved and how long it took. I have done tons of research trying to find out just what happened to my brain and am so very glad to find that there are a bunch more people out there that have experienced what I have-I am not crazy-it is not mad up and the medical community needs to know about this so when their patients come in and ask for help, they can get the help they so desperately need.

  58. Hello,

    I have taken 75 mg. Effexor or the generic equvilant for 17 years. Over the last year, I have been tapering off. The last three weeks I’ve taken only 1 mg. per day. Tomorrow, I will take none. I am ready for this day to be here. It has required a lot of patience. Once I decided I wanted off this drug, I wanted to be free of it as quickly as possible. But we all know how that works out. Patience was also required when the most minor annoyances made me want to scream (sometimes I did anyway). I’ve felt jittery, anxious and had stomach upset fairly routinely. It was difficult to concentrate at my job. I have a fairly fast paced, challenging job and not being functional was not an option. But 17 years is a long time to subject the body to a powerful drug and it doesn’t loosen it’s grip easily. I’ve felt I had to slowly pry myself away. Sometimes I feel like crying but I know I can do this. What worries me more is the following:
    For about 10 years, I participated in a longitudinal study of aging and memory. The study has concluded now, but at the time, we were tested every 2-3 years. When I took the test about 5 years ago, I noticed I had some difficulty recalling descriptive passages I had read in one section of the test This surprized me at the time. In the past I was able to recall things I’d read almost word for word. I could remember the gist of the passages, but not exact sentence structure and words. Also, I noticed that a couple of the puzzles took longer to complete than it seemed like they should. At the time, I was slightly alarmed, but felt maybe I wasn’t absorbing the information as quickly for some other reason.
    I didn’t worry too much for the next several years. I functioned fine at work, I did a lot of writing for marketing projects and company executives, executed strategic plans and projects and traveled quite a bit for the company. During the last two years, however, I have noticed a scary decline in my cognitive function. The Alzheimers Assoc. website states the following are early onset Alz symptoms:
    Problems coming up with the right word or name
    Trouble remembering names when introduced to new people
    Greater difficulty performing tasks in work or social settings
    Forgetting material just read
    Losing or misplacing valuable objects
    Increasing trouble planning and organizing

    I am terrified! Other than misplacing a valuable object, I have these symptoms every day now. In fact, it has become worse, as I have tapered off Effexor. When I was at the doctor’s last year, I mentioned it to him, and asked if he thought the Effexor was the cause. He replied that if Effexor was going to effect my memory it would do so almost from the time I started taking it, not 10 years in. So I don’t know…will my brain function gradually get better? Do I have Alzheimers? Did the Effexor cause Alzheimers??
    (There are some new studies that seem to indicate that may be a possibility) I am very afraid. Is there anyone out there who has had significant memory and cognitive impairment for a long time and then had improvement upon stopping Effexor? I don’t expect that it will happen instantly…I just hope that it happens eventually.

    Side note: I do not smoke, drink or take any other medications regularly. I take vitamin B, multi vitamin, Fish oil and potasium. I have noticed that while tapering off, increasing vitamin B and fish oil to 2x per day seemed to take the edge off the anxiety just a bit.

    Sorry this is so long…thank you for any input.

  59. Ive been on Effexor since 1996 and now its 2015 about 19yrs im ok i guess i now have short term memory loss it takes me a couple hrs. to remember what i had for breakfast but i do remember that same day ive been on 75 mg for about 6 yrs. before i was taking 37.50 mg but i wad having headaces and i asked for the next dose up im ok with this my sex drive is up now and haven’t had any long relations for about 2& 1/2 yrs. I think its great i finally can do things for myself and not worry about what im going to make for dinner…lol but don’t get me wrong im still looking for Mr. Right…i think ill stay on my Effexor fir a couple more years as long as i don’t forget to pray ill be fine.

  60. It’s Effexor that has caused my short term memory loss?! On one hand I feel relieved knowing that it isn’t early-onset Alzheimers. On the other hand I’m angry that the this drug is still on the market.

    I am 44 years old. For the last two years my memory has gotten so bad that I’ve cried during special family moments because I knew I wouldn’t remember them the next week, or the next day. I’ve introduced myself to people who seem bewildered because they say we’ve met before… recently, and sometimes more than once. I’ve cried myself to sleep many times out of frustration, shame, and fear of my memory failing me even worse. In the last few months I have decided that I need to come to terms with it, so I’ve started making fun of it. My husband and I joke about how our life is like the movies ’50 First Dates’ or ‘Groundhog Day’.

    I’m so angry right now because I just started taking Effexor XR again 6 days ago. I haven’t taken it for about 12 months and never planned to take it again because it caused my ears to ring, made my whole body feel like it was buzzing/vibrating, and caused insomnia. BUT it worked really well for my mood… and it worked fast. I would have relief from my depression within two days. I had taken it four or five times over the course of a year and a half for 2-14 days each time. That was all I needed to give me the boost I needed to start functioning again; I was able to get out of bed, and didn’t want to die.

    I came across this thread today because for two days now I have been having problems spelling. I tried writing in an anniversary card for my daughter and her husband last night and made so many mistakes that I ended up ripping the card in half and throwing it away. I thought is was a fluke thing and made fun of it. Then this morning while taking notes during a phone call with a client I did the same thing. I put extra letters in words, left out letters, and dotted an e and an a.

    Before reading the comments on this thread I had absolutely no idea or suspicion that Effexor had been the reason for my short-term memory issues. I’m scared now because I need to stop taking it again and my memory will probably be worse than ever. To think that it had been a year since I last took it (for one week) and my memory did not improve! Now, I’m doubting it ever will. This is awful.

  61. I too have notice a big memory decline after 14 yrs of effexor use. Brain zaps are really bad so I need to discuss with dr. I was nlaming my age😦

  62. It’s an remarkable paragraph for all the
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  63. It’s 2 years later and no current posts. I want to print this and show it to my psychiatrist, but would like to know how everyone is doing, now. Your stories are my story and I currently take 150mg twice a day. I, also, take klonopin 1/2 mg morning and afternoon, and 1 mg at night. I have pretty bad PTSD and insomnia. I take a “cocktail” of the klonopin, 150mg trazodone at night. That stopped helping me sleep so I added 10mg of melatonin. That helped for awhile and I now add a few minutes of vaping some heavy indica marijuana. Now I sleep most of the night.

    I didn’t notice anyone having sleeping difficulties so that is probably my busy mind and ptsd. I’m thinking that the exercise might help with some of this.

    I am so glad I paged through the google listings and found your site. I’ve been seriously thinking I was going crazy. My husband has almost taken me to the hospital on several occasions for mental breakdown. I can’t thank you enough. I do ask for updated information from anyone as a lot has changed in the past couple of years in the way of meds., alternative medicine, etc. I want the latest before I begin this journey.

    • I have been meaning to write an update for some time …. in fact, i’ve been meaning to do a lot of things for some time. Right now, I am with a new pDoc and since December we have been working on weaning me off EffexorXR by adding small doses of Lamictal. Right now, I am at about 18 mg of Effexor. But since getting down this far (from 75 then which was down from 300 or thereabouts to begin) we are now up to 125 Lamictal. Experiencing rage, extreme ruminating, anxiety, depression, inabilty to motivate. This is day 4 on the increase by 25. Memory? Really bad. But then again, Ihave been so debilitated by this decrease I am not able to motivate to do yoga 5x a week or to meditate and hike. Sleeping has ALWAYS been the major problem for me and the Pdoc I am working with now is a sleep specialist. We are down to 25 mg of Trazadone from 150. The trazadone at that high a dose has a negative impact on sleep and actually inflames the mind so no wonder you are vaping. I also have what they refer to now as “Complex PTSD” Also take klonopin. If the upping of the lamictal doesn’t work, we are going to try inositol (sp)… It is a form of Vitamin B (maybe B8) you can buy OTC and it has reported great results dealing with depression, anxiety, sleeping, etc. Melatonin never worked for me.

      I will write more later …. I work almost exclusively in latest in AltMed so I do have several things to add which I have discovered over the years and which have worked except right now this last few steps in getting off the Effexor has totally thrown me off course. Pdoc says it will take a year for my mind to heal from so many years on ADs. He is so totally totally opposed to using them

      Let me know what your doc says but seriously for relief I would ask about Lamictal at really small dose (like 1/2 a 25 to start). The thing about it is you notice changes in 3-5 days and it has relatively NO side effects (well, some which I will write you later) .. no weight gain which is huge for me because it has taken me 2 years to loose 2/3 of the lbs I gained over 20 years on various ADs.

  64. I’ve been on 75mg of Effexor xr for 3 years. My memory is nowhere near what it used to be and I think it’s because of the drug. I was on Paxil cr years before and didn’t experience this side effect. I have tried many times to get off antidepressants and have never succeeded. I was off totally for about 4-5 months but was in absolute misery with social anxiety. I don’t know what to do because I hate being dependent on a drug!!

    • I am now using Latuda and starting to experience some degree of clearing. Though still on small doses of Effexor. I have written an update on first page of Brainzaps.

  65. Dear Boatsie/Deborah,

    I am 58 years old. I have been on Effexor for at least 15 years. I started taking Prozac in 1994. I took it for a year and then got off it. My friends noticed instantly that I was no longer smiling. I got back on Prozac but noticed that I could no longer remember what I had done last week at work. The change was remarkable=significant brain fog. So, I asked for a different med. I tried Wellbutrin, which was horrible. We settled on Effexor XR, which I have taken ever since.

    In 2004 I was diagnosed with ADD–so I started taking Ritalin LA as well. I take 40 mg of Ritalin LA on top of the Effexor. Somewhere in there (2010?) I worked with one psychiatrist who increased the Ritalin to 80 mg a day! She was a bit of a nut. After a time the Ritalin didn’t work at all and I had somewhat of a breakdown–and resigned from my job. Then in 2013 (?) I went to a neurologist who said I was an adrenal mess. He prescribed 20 mg Buspirone for anxiety. He said the Buspirone would help boost the Effexor as well. He was right–when I took Buspirone regularly it helped me stop clenching my teeth and tightening all my muscles all the time.

    Today I take Effexor, Ritalin and Buspirone. I can stop the Buspirone and the Ritalin no problem. If I miss one day of Effexor, no problem. Day 2, I will have night sweats, extremely vivid dreams and weird fractal spinning images at night. Day 3, I develop a splitting headache and I can get very touchy and weepy. I have never taken it to Day 4:-). I am scared to get off this stuff, though I did transition to Prozac when I was pregnant, so I guess I pulled it off for those months back in 2002. I can’t remember very well (ha-ha).

    It creeps me out to be on so many meds. Things have been worse since I went through menopause. I have a job I love now–and I am worried that my lack of memory will affect my job performance.

    Thanks for listening!

    • Lamictal really does help with getting down to lower doses of Effexor. It truly helped with all the side effects, except now I have to get off the Lamictal. I am about to the point where being at 37.5 may be where i end up for the rest of my life. After years of trying, I am 99% sure I am admitting defeat. Not sure how large a dose of Effexor you are on but you really need to find someone with significant expertise in designing a protocol to assist you. It doesn’t sound like you have found that pdoc yet.

      I wish you luck… Keep us posted.

    • I have just updated the main page of Brainzaps with link outs to reporting on latest news on status of cutback ….

  66. Does anyone know if memory will return after weaning off Effexor? I have been to my docter and Phycitrist with my huge concerns of memory loss, it has cost me my job, I’ve had to go on disability because of it and honestly thought I was getting early Ellzimers disease. I’m now on a high dose of Concerta because my Docter thinks I have adult ADHD due to my foggy brain . This was not an issue till I began Venofaxline 4 years ago. I feell like I’m going crazy as if there is a block on my head not allowing me to think and it’s all on the tip of my tounge. Please any suggestions? I’m desperate!

    • I’m down to 37 mg of Effexor now. We had to use Lamictal up to 150mg and got down to 25 for a short time but the depression just got so bad. I am now on Gabapentin and down to 75 of Lamictal but talk about memory loss! I feel as if my brain will never recover from the years of Effexor.

      • Is there any help for someone who is experiencing the memory loss associated with Effexor? My husband is 44 years old and his mind is that of an 80 year old Alzheimer’s patient. He has been off of the drug for a year now, but his memory has not returned. He has headaches in the front of his head daily and without looking at his watch could not tell you what time of day it is or how long he has been awake for because he is not able to remember anything he has done during the day to help him know how much time has passed. I would love to hear how some of the people are doing now with their memory problems because I see that it has been a few years since their posts. I would like to know if there is any positive outlook on this problem from taking this horrible drug.

      • I am still having memory problems. I just wrote a new post about energy healing work I had done which links out to my current regime. Latuda just started and seems to be having some impact with clearing. But once again. No matter how often I change my pdoc, no matter how often I report on reports of memory loss associated with this drug (and others) they always say stop reading the internet, its all word of mouth! Or they say, I never heard that before.

      • LOL. I should have read on….Thank you for posting in 2016! Its only been a few months but, please tell me how you feel. I am preparing myself for this to take place in June so that I have the summer months and my husbands support. Any thoughts, advice?

    • I definitely know what you are talking about. My husband was on Effexor XR 37.5 for only 2 months, but with just that short time he began losing his memory. It has been a year since he quit taking this horrible drug (Jan 2015) and his memory has not returned yet. It is an every day problem. There is not a day that goes by that he can’t remember what he is doing, what he has done (even just minutes before) or even how long he has been awake. It is horrible to see him go through this, but even neurologists are not able to figure out what is going on. He has been through so much blood work, EEG, MRI and still no answers. I would love to find someone out there who had found a doctor that is able to correctly diagnose what exactly this drug does and how to fix the problem. He also is not able to work because of this problem. He is only 44 and had absolutely no problems remembering before being put on this drug. This horrible medication has ruined his life!

    • Hi Naomi,

      I sympathize with you. You don’t mention how long you’ve been off Effexor, but I am in the middle of my 8th month being Effexor free (after 17 years at 75mg) and my memory has not improved. I do not take any other medication other than some vitamins. At first, during the time I was weaning off Effexor and right afterwards, the the problem seemed more related to agitation and confusion and inability to focus. As time went by, that gradually diminished in intensity, and my ability to focus improved. My memory and cognition have not, however. I have always had an excellent memory– it was like velcro. Almost anything that went in stuck, whether I wanted it to or not. Now, it’s more like Teflon, things hit it, then slip away, I forget things I never would have forgotten before. I used to write speeches for the president of a global 500 company, now, it takes me forever to write even a simple answer like this. The other really disconcerting thing is not being able to really have an in depth conversation with someone because I have difficulty retrieving the information I want to reply while I am talking. I can’t seem to do both at the same time anymore. Like you, I also thought of Alzheimers and had screening tests for it. (I’m 59) The tests didnt’ reveal Alzheimers as the problem, but the tests are very basic and one has to decline to a very considerable degree (i.e. not knowing the city you live in, what day it is, or how to draw a clock) in order to be diagnosed by those screening tests. My neurologist also suggested that I go back on Effexor, (what’s with these guys??) but I replied that I was unwilling to take any more drugs that affect my brain. So, my hope is that eventually, through diet and excercise, my brain will regenerate those areas that seem affected. I am sorry I don’t have a very good/positive response for you, Naomi. I have noticed that eating sugar and carbs seems to make the cognition problems worse, as does stress and not getting enough sleep.
      All the best to you on this journey–you’re not alone!

    • Years ago I was on Effexor for two months and I lost my short term memory. I quickly got off of it and my doctor put me on a different medication
      But I never got back my memory from those two months. I just remember being there but nothing else. I dont even know how I made it through those days. But I did. Im so grateful we caught it in time before I lost anymore of my life.

  67. First off I’m not condoning the use of alcohol in excess. I use whiskey to reduce pain and sleep better. I work 15 days on in a high stress environment with a high level of physical labor. I have noticed over the years that my drinking (varying from daily, weekly and monthly) has helped me with my effexor usage. I used whiskey while reducing my dosage of effexor and had very little noticeable side effects. In 5 days I have reduced to 10 pellets from 150mg capsules. I’m not saying it will work for everyone but it helped me a lot. The dizzy stopped and I’m not curled up in a ball regretting my decision to ween off of this bullshit med.

  68. Effexor made me so sick and stupid that I almost killed myself! six years later, and on just 90 mg of cymbalta, there are signs of hope.
    Immediately after titrating for three months down from 300 mg to zero I got a raging relapse of my depression, brain zaps, and had photosenstiivity for one year. but on the drug I had horrific rashes and acne and my personality and cognition were significantly altered. please don’t stop taking it without a plan b and lots of supervision!!! I am not seeing an integrative psychiatrist And on the road towards a better treatment plan but it has NOT been easy. Effexor sucks!!!

  69. Hello Boatsie and everyone !
    I have been on Effector CR for about 10 yrs. Scary to say that. I never thought I would ever be “hooked” on any drug. I c can stop taking it at anytime. But, within a day I am having crazy vivid dreams, crying fits, severe headaches and brain z zaps. I also think of suicide when i dont take them.
    I am writing to say that I have been fired from my last two jobs due to my inability to get along with people. I used to never have a cross word for anyone. I also drive crazily, do dangerous things to test myself, and dreading to go back to work so I have almost emptied my retirement acct. I am paying bills. However my house is a wreck. I’ve pushed away old friends and even some family members. I have no insurance. But I am using a med discount card to get my Effecor when i need it. I am so scared about what will become of me i get even more anxious and nervous. Right now all the effexor seems to do for me is keep me from having panic attacks. I still lay in my bed and cry. Dont clean my house.
    The one thing i do everyday is feed my pets and take them outside.
    I am 48. Divorced (on the med during the marriage), single, unemployed (feel unemployable), overweight, forgetful, depressed, sad, angry, worried, lonely ( but rather be alone),  easily irritable, and have started menopause as of Jan 2015. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, please contact me. Please.

  70. I have been on Effexor and Effexor XR for 225mg -300mg for 22 years. I broke my back when I was 16 years old. I had some depression issues from that. My doctor, instead of counselling, put me on Effexor. I wish doctors wouldn’t do that. I feel Effexor has ruined my life. I cannot remember anything. My kids remember things we did and I don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. My memory is so fuzzy all the time. I used to spell excellently, now I misspell words all the time. I went to a dinner party last night and met someone I hadn’t met before. After, talking all night about his job and how he did it, out of the blue I asked so… what do you do for a living? I had completely forgot the whole conversation for the last 2 hours. I felt like such an idiot! I don’t want to forget my kids and husband or even what I ate for dinner. Also, now my legs and arms go numb every time I sleep. I have developed Raynaud’s Syndrome also. I believe all of this comes from Effexor.

    • I also have problems with numbness in my legs and arms.

      I think what has heleped me the most, though I am still seriously challenged by memory problems but in short term and episodic, long term areas IS mindfulness and yoga … yoga where there is almost excrutiating emphasis on focousing on the details of doing each pose in perfect alignment which acquaints me with parts of my body I never was aware of before.

  71. Hi,I’ve been on Venlafaxine for 22years and I would honestly say they have ruined my life.i have very little contact with the outside world,I have my son full time now,but I couldn’t go back to work,I seem to have all the side effects now but what’s really bad is the nightmares.i often sleep downstairs because of waking not just my son but next-door as well.my memory is really bad if I start something and walk of from it,I will forget and start something else,the Dr has said I will never come off them.i was married for 13yrs and her leaving sentence was that she doesn’t know the real me because of the tablets.i can’t remember not being on them anymore.but I dont think they should be prescribed at all.

  72. I fully believe that Effexor erases memory at least short term. I was on it for 2 months during which I lost those two months of memory completely. After stopping the drug my memory returned but I never got those two months back.

  73. Boatsie can you contact me via FB messenger?

  74. I’ve been off Effexor for about a year, now. Was taking 150mg twice a day for the better part of 13 years.

    There were a couple of months where I would get stuck on a word. Not the same feeling as “having it on the tip of your tongue”, but more like the word was almost visible in front of me, hanging in the air. It was pretty freaky, but only lasted about 2 months.

    The memory problems are still hanging around. My husband will talk about something we discussed last week and I can’t remember it. I have huge gaps for periods during the last 5 years I was taking it. I didn’t realize how much of a fog I was in until I got off it and began feeling better. The brain zaps were alleviated by resuming Trazadone.

    One thing that really bothers me involves muscle memory and I haven’t notice in my off and on visits to the site, anyone mentioning it. It’s in regards to typing. I used to type 50wpm, corrected as I went along. Now, I’m probably at about 20 with lots of mistakes that I often don’t catch until I read what I just typed. I’ll sometimes scramble a word, or use the wrong form of it. (I’ve always been a stickler for grammar, etc.) It’s like my fingers have forgotten where the correct keys are, sometimes. I think there has been some improvement, but it’s slow and frustrating. I’m trying to find a job and everyone wants someone to type 35wpm corrected and I can’t trust myself to be able to do that correctly. Really eliminates a lot of jobs.

    I’m having a lot of problems with daytime sleepiness, but don’t know if it’s related. I hope this answers some questions, at least for what it’s like down the road.

    • I’m writing a new post on this topic but I have to say that this issue re typing problems has been plaguing me for a few months now. My overall pov is that its not just the Effexor … i noticed the typing problem when i started on low doses of gabapentin to get off lamictal and then start addressing cut back from current dose of 37.5 Effexor. Talk about brain fog!

  75. […] This post is in response to all the comments and questions I have received on my initial post Effexor XR and Memory Loss. […]

  76. I have started taking gabapentin, but the problems with the typing began long before that. I can see a possible connection, being that it’s for nerve conduction related issues, but I don’t know. My typing is slowly improving the more I do it, but words still sometimes scramble and the wrong form of the word is a really interesting occurrence. I will hit a key in the vicinity of the one I intended to hit, so something is trying to recall how to do this. Just more weird stuff! Good luck with your mysteries.

  77. This is really odd because I had started Gabapentin now that I recall when this particiular problem surfaced. I have been off for about 3 weeks and i suddenly realized i am doing much better!

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